Cocaine trafficking : NDLEA arraigns four

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Thursday arraigned four men at the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly importing cocaine, a banned narcotic drug.

Among them was Simon Omeluonye, who was caught with 7.785 kilogrammes of cocaine.

He was arrested last August 22 during inward clearance of a South African Airways flight from Brazil via South Africa at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja.

Also arraigned were Churchill Okwudili, Arinzechukwu Okpala, and Chukwemeka Nwoye, all for alleged cocaine trafficking.

Okwudili was arrested last November 14 during inward clearance of Emirates Airlines flight from Brazil at the ‘E’ Arrival Hall of the MMIA.

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He allegedly imported 940 grammes of cocaine without lawful authority. Okwudili pleaded not guilty.

NDLEA said Nwoye was arrested on October 8 during inward clearance of Qatar Airways flight from Dubai at the ‘E’ Hall of MMIA.

He pleaded not guilty to importing 1.678 kilogrammes of cocaine.

Okpala was arrested last November 17 during the inward clearance of Emirates Airlines passengers from Dubai.

The prosecution said he unlawfully imported 2.720 kilogrammes of cocaine, but the defendant pleaded not guilty.

The alleged offences, which contravene Section 11 (a) of the NDLEA Act 2004, attract a maximum penalty of life sentence but could be lesser based on the judge’s discretion.

Justice Saliu Saidu granted the four bail in the following sums: Omeluonye, N20 million; Okpala, N12 million; Okwudili, N5 million; and Nwoye, N5 million, with two sureties each in like sum.

One of the sureties must be their relative with a landed property in Lagos, the other a must be public servant not below Grade Level 14.

Justice Saidu said the prosecution and the registrar must be satisfied with the sureties, who, along with the defendants, must deposit their international passports with the court.

He adjourned till March 7, 9 and 16 for trial. 

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